There are batsmen who are consistent and then, there are magicians who wait for their chance to cast a spell. Among today’s cricketers, grace and poetry isn’t the primary requisite, scoring runs is; but Karun Nair — who converted his first ton into a triple (303 not out) against England in the fifth and final Test match here — delighted the purists with his affluent style. He is risk-free yet artistic, flashy but classy.

The 25-year-old announced his arrival when he became the first cricketer since 1946 to hit a triple century (328) for Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy final against Tamil Nadu last year. It earned him the IPL ticket but the gateway didn’t allow him to board the Indian team jetty soon. It was not until July this year when he turned out for the Men in Blue against Zimbabwe, opening the innings with fellow state-mate KL Rahul, who was dismissed for 199 in this Test.

Nair toyed with the English bowlers at a brisk pace. When asked about the mental space, he said, “Once I crossed 250, the team management had a plan. Within five overs, I reached 280 and Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) kept egging me on, asking me not to throw it away.”

The stylish right-hander is a tornado in all formats, his mental frame and shots — none change. He kept sweeping the spinners effortlessly throughout the innings. “I played the sweep shot almost all my life, you do need to practice and work hard but it is one of my go-to shots when I need boundaries. My game doesn’t change in other formats. The approach may change. A Test match has a longer time but I don’t play any different,” added Nair, with pride and confidence in his eyes.

He played normally and upped his ante after crossing the 100-run mark; he crushed the spirit of the opponents single-handedly. “They say make hay when the sun shines. I don’t know what they (the England team) are feeling right now but I am happy I made the most of it,” he said.

He beats odds being affirmative in crunch moments. “You need to watch the ball. There is pressure going into a Test match but one cannot think negatively all the time,” added Nair, who considers this innings to be superior to the Ranji one. Why? “First-class cricket is different but that innings was more taxing as I batted longer. But here, the Chennai heat does get to you,” he said.

Nair is being greeted and treated with care by teammates and family after the feat. The dressing room suddenly turned into a classroom where he stood first. (He did win the Man of the Match award). But his heart ached for his comrade, Rahul. “We started our careers together. When he was ahead, I caught up and when I went ahead, he joined me soon. I feel bad that he couldn’t get to 200 but he will get it soon,” he sulked.

Nair is yet to believe in his present but he has probably locked his berth in the Indian team for the future.

India won the Test by an innings and 75 runs and the series 4-0.